Skeletal System Disorders and Diseases

Though there are many medical conditions associated with skeletal system, some of the major and most disturbing maladies include kyphosis, arthritis, osteoporosis, bone cancer, rickets, and so on. For the treatment of these abnormalities, different curative measures are suggested by the health specialists, such as medications, surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. If serious cases of skeletal disorders (bone cancer, spinal cancer and arthritis) are not addressed in time, they usually lead to severe consequences and may even claim the life of the victim. Here follows a brief description of the common maladies of your bony framework along with their obvious diagnostic symptoms, and frequently applied treatment therapies:


As the literal meanings (that is, “joint inflammation”) of the word suggest, it refers to the inflammatory condition of one or more joints. At the same time, it is further even more unfortunate to know that there are more than a hundred various forms that the disease may take; the most common of which is the osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is degenerative joint disease, which usually results from the infection and trauma of the joint or the process of aging. Septic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are some other forms of this painful ailment. In almost all the cases of the disease, the patient suffers from the mild or severe joint pain which may also be localized to the affected joint.

Here it is worth mentioning that joint pain can also be the symptom of some other disease in which case arthritis is considered only secondary to the main disorder. Along with the application of various types of medications, arthritis can also be perfectly treated with either occupational or physical therapy.

Bone Cancer

It has been found that the unwanted growth of neoplastic tissue mass in the bone can be either benign or malignant, where the latter case is alternatively known as the bone cancer. Based on the origin of their growth, the bone tumors can be classified into two types, namely, primary tumors and secondary tumors. In the former case, the neoplastic tissue mass originates either from the bone itself or from bone-derived tissues or cells, while in the latter case, the tumor originates in some other sites and spreads to inflict the skeleton.

The most common symptom of the presence of the bone tumor is the onset of pain which increases with the passage of time, while the additional symptoms include unexplained bone fractures, fever, fatigue, anemia, and weight loss. The choice of treatment methodology for this serious and life-threatening illness depends on the type of tumor, and the most often practiced treatment measures include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, medications and surgery including the amputation of the affected organ.

Kelso's Hunchback

More commonly known as kyphosis or simply roundback, it is a troublesome and ugly skeletal disorder which involves the over-curvature of the thoracic vertebrae in the upper back region of the vertebral column. There can be a number of causes of this extreme structural deformity, such as the development problems, trauma, degenerative diseases, osteoporosis, and so on. In slight cases of the disease, the twelve vertebras, making up the thoracic spine undergo curvature of up to 45o. In extreme cases, the thoracic spine curvature goes beyond 45o, thus leading to the condition known as "hyperkyphosis". The most classical form of the hyperkyphosis is Scheuermann’s kyphosis which results from the wedged vertebrae that usually develop during the age of adolescence.

The prevalent method for the treatment of roundback is the application of orthosis, which refers to the mechanical aid supporting the affected body part and subjecting it to the gradual process of straightening. Two types of body braces are common, namely, Milwaukee brace and the modern CAD/CAM braces, the latter of which are used in Europe to treat different kinds of kyphosis. Some other curative measures, such as medications, specialized physical therapy and surgery are also in vogue now-a-days.


This malady refers to the condition that affects the bone development in children and causes the hard bony structures to become softer and weaker, thus leading to mild or relatively severe case of bone deformities. Among its dominant causes, there include the deficiency or impaired metabolism of vitamin D, calcium or phosphorus which play an important role in the development, firmness and strengthening of the bones. Unfortunately, in many developing countries of the world, rickets is one of the most frequently occurring childhood diseases, which also leads to bone fractures in the juvenile humans.

Though the most of the cases of the disease have been witnessed only in children, but it may also victimize adults owing to severe malnutrition. Some of the obvious diagnostic symptoms include bone tenderness, muscle weakness, dental problem, increased tendency for fractures, skeletal deformities, and so on. The diet control; increased exposure to sunlight; and supplementation have proved to be very effective and successful treatment methodologies for the ultimate cure of the disease.


Literally meaning “porous bones”, osteoporosis is characterized by a loss of the bone mass owing an imbalance of the bone formation and the bone resorption. As an inevitable consequence of it all, the bones become porous and brittle and susceptible to fractures. The most common fracture sites include hips, wrists and vertebrae in the spine. Affecting women four times more often than men, this skeletal disorder is very common among people over the age of 70. Its more frequency of afflicting women is, particularly, owed to the hormonal changes that occur with menopause.

Though certain degree of loss in bone mass is a normal consequence of the process of aging, but there are also a number of other factors which hasten osteoporosis, such as physical inactivity, dietary calcium deficiency, reduced estrogen levels, being underweight, smoking and excessive use of alcohol. The diagnosis is carried out through bone density scan, X-rays, CT scans, blood & urine tests, patient history, and so on. Besides prompt HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), a number of other treatment measures are available, for example, biphosphonate therapy; intake of the high doses of calcitonin; injection of parathyroid hormone; and physical therapy.

About the Author

Posted by: M. Isaac / Senior writer

A graduate in biological sciences and a PhD scholar (NCBA&E University, Lahore), M. Isaac combines his vast experience with a keen and critical eye to create practical and inherently engaging content on the human body. His background as a researcher and instructor at a secondary school enables him to best understand the needs of the beginner level learners and the amateur readers and educate them about how their body works, and how they can adopt a healthier lifestyle.

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